Some central Alberta municipalities, including the City of Red Deer, will now have curfews at restaurants, the premier announced Thursday, while he was self-isolating at home.
Jason Kenney was waiting for COVID-19 results Thursday afternoon after coming into close contact with someone who has tested positive with the virus. He will be working from home until Nov. 23.
Starting Friday, all restaurants, bars, lounges and pubs in regions under enhanced status must cease liquor sales by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m., Kenney announced.
The restriction will remain in place until Nov. 27.
The province defines enhanced measures as more than 50 active cases per 100,000 people. As of Thursday, the status applied to the City of Red Deer, City of Lacombe, Ponoka County, County of Wetaskiwin and City of Wetaskiwin in central Alberta.
There will also be a two-week ban on indoor group fitness classes, team sport activities and group performance activities, where “spread is rising,” said Kenney.
It’ll apply to Red Deer, Edmonton and surrounding areas, Calgary and surrounding areas, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray and Lethbridge.
These targeted measures are to protect the health system and limit the spread, and “to try aggressively to bring our numbers down,” said Kenney.
“This two week pause reflects the fact that in this moment in the province, we need a pause on any activity that has a significant chance of spreading infection from one to many.”
To provide some context to Albertans, the premier compared numbers – both new cases and hospitalizations.
“In the spring, our highest daily new case count at the peak was 351. The highest number of hospitalizations we had in the spring was 88, with 21 people in intensive care.
“And our current state is twice as high as those numbers.”
The government noted hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions are at their highest point since the pandemic began.
As of Thursday afternoon, there were 8,305 active cases in the province, with 225 people in hospital and 51 in intensive care.
Central zone active cases stood at 347 Thursday, up from the previous number of 317. There are seven people in hospital in the local zone. To date, 1,019 people have recovered from the virus in the local zone.
The City of Red Deer’s active cases went up by one Thursday to 92.
According to the province’s map, with the local geographic area setting, these cases are split between 44 in the north of the city, eight in the southwest (Gaetz area) and 40 in the east.
The Alberta government reported 10 deaths Thursday, with the death toll reaching 393.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, said Thursday 860 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the province since the previous update on Wednesday afternoon.
“This week, we also hit the trigger of more than 50 per cent of our COVID ICU capacity in use. We are currently sitting at 73 per cent of those 70 beds. As the premier said, this is deeply concerning,” said Hinshaw.
According to the province’s map with the municipality setting, Red Deer County stood at 10 active cases Thursday, nine for the Town of Sylvan Lake.
The City of Lacombe was at 20 active cases, six for Lacombe County, five for Clearwater County, one for the County for Stettler, six for Camrose County and 28 for the City of Camrose.
The same setting also shows there are 29 active cases in the City of Wetaskiwin, one for the Town of Olds and 14 for Mountain View County.
According to the province’s map with the local geographic area setting, there are two active cases in Rimbey (west Ponoka County and partial Lacombe County), 21 active cases in Lacombe (and nearby Lacombe County), 28 active in east Ponoka County and 69 in Wetaskiwin County (Maskwacis).
Additional public health measures will also be implemented in all regions under an enhanced status, such as Red Deer, including maximum attendance of 50 at wedding or funeral ceremonies.
The province is recommending all faith-based activities limit attendance to one-third capacity per service, residents should not hold social gatherings within their homes and should not plan social gatherings outside their community.
The government is recommending employers in office settings implement measures to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at one time.